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5 Year Anniversary

04 Jun

I haven’t posted anything on this blog in quite a while… since January… which coincidentally is when I started my new job.  Working 70 hours a week, 6 days a week, doesn’t lend itself to blogging.  But I have noticed that traffic on the blog is still pretty solid, so thanks for that.

Today, just some quick thoughts… Memorial Day Weekend marked 5 years since I left full time ministry.  It is easy to remember because it happened on a holiday weekend.  And it always causes me to reflect upon where I am, how God is working in my life, etc.

Simply put, five years later life is good. I love my job and have done well professionally. While my work schedule does not allow me to be fully invested in the life of a local church, I am blessed by the church I am a member of and the community I am surrounded by.  I am continually thankful for my family and have found that I grow closer and closer to them each year and value time spent with them more and more. I am still ordained, still preach on occasion, still officiate a few weddings… and yes, I do miss full time ministry. And yes, I would not be surprised if God calls me back into it sometime down the line. I feel like the grace-filled work of reconciliation continues and is fruitful.  And I am thankful for that.  Overall, life is good and God is great.

Now some broader reflections on the church and LGBT issues…

We are at a critical point in our society — and in our churches — on this issue. And LGBT folks — both in the church and outside the church — continue to wrestle with these issues individually. Each day seems to bring about another person sharing their coming out story or a straight person sharing how they have changed their views — followed by condemnation and attacks from traditionalists.  

Here is my general take:

Individual LGBT people have two options:

1. Accept the narrative that their sexual/relational desires are evil and sinful and choose to live with a certain level of hiddeness, self-hatred and internal angst.

2. Accept that being LGBT is one aspect of who we are and that God loves us as we are — and that we must learn to love ourselves as our God loves us.

One path leads to death — relational, spiritual and too often and for too many, physical.  The other leads to life.

And churches have two options:

1. Continue the narrative that LGBT people are inherently evil and sinful because of their sexuality and that they must conquer, destroy or grin-and-bear their sexuality in order to fully be part of the faith community and experience the fullness of relationship with God.

2. Continue to embrace, welcome and walk with LGBT folks — both believers and seekers — while affirming God’s unconditional love and the gifts / passions / talents that LGBT people bring to the church.

One path produces death — relational, spiritual and too often and for too many, physical.  The other leads to life.

My prayer this coming year is that more and more LGBT folks would choose the path of life. And that more and more churches would continue to point people to the path of life and to walk with them on that path.

We will be healthier for it. Our churches will be healthier for it. And God will be glorified by it.

THOUGHTS?

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4 Comments

Posted by on June 4, 2014 in Uncategorized

 

4 responses to “5 Year Anniversary

  1. Nancy

    June 5, 2014 at 1:14 am

    1. Happy anniversary? Hey, it actually is becoming happier, year by year. Glad all is well with your soul and your career.
    2. I agree with your basic point, life or death. Thus, my effort to recruit more TAIEC churches at the Wild Goose Festival: http://www.inclusiveevangelicalchurches.com/
    3. My only quibble is with language. I think it’s best to represent someone else’s views using their own language. “Inherently evil” is too strong for most conservatives. “Affirming God’s love” and “welcoming and walking” smell like Plan B, or worse, the increasingly popular welcome + let’s just ignore the issue. Too weak for most liberals. I think this middle path is also death, albeit a slower one.

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    • Ben Dubow

      June 6, 2014 at 1:54 am

      Thanks Nancy…

      Point well taken re. language. Though most traditionalists affirm language like “intrinsically disordered” (which, to my ears, sounds a lot like “inherently evil”) and of course their general theology is that “sin is evil”, so it pretty much comes out as “you are evil”.

      To clarify, for me, the “third way” works when the question is really about Side A and Side B… not about change and ex-gay and all that silliness.

      While the church is transitioning and evolving, I believe that we need to be a big tent — just as we are with the issue of form of baptism, divorce and remarriage, birth control, etc. As long as people agree not bully others with their position, I think we can achieve a healthy big tent or third way… at least for now.

      BD

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  2. rex

    June 5, 2014 at 2:31 am

    Ben – although we’ve run into each other only a couple of times, events in our ministry in Hartford years ago gave me a much greater interest in your journey. I have learned a lot from your writings over the past five years & in the past year especially have been in sort of a season of repentance toward the LGBT members of my faith family who I have judged & hurt. Thanks for having the courage to share your story & your thoughts. It has made a difference.

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    • Ben Dubow

      June 6, 2014 at 1:54 am

      Thanks Rex! I really appreciate it. Blessings!

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